According to an NTSB preliminary report, the Learjet 35A involved in a December 27 fatal accident struck powerlines and subsequently crashed into the yard of a home about 1.43 nm east of the approach end of Runway 27R at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California. At the time of the accident (7:14 p.m. local), the twinjet was flying a Part 91 repositioning flight from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. The two pilots and two nurses were killed. The aircraft, N880Z, was registered to MedJet of El Cajon.
At about 7:08 p.m., the report said the pilot contacted Gillespie Tower to report they were on a GPS approach to Runway 17, which is 4,145 feet long with a 450-foot displaced threshold. After the controller cleared N880Z to land, the pilot reported the airport in sight and requested to squawk VFR and land on Runway 27, which is 5,342 feet long and has a 706-foot displaced threshold.
Asked by the controller if he wanted to cancel his IFR flight plan, the pilot replied, “Yes sir.” The controller then instructed the pilot to overfly the field, enter left traffic for Runway 27R, and cleared the aircraft to land. A few seconds later, the pilot requested that the lights for Runway 27R be increased, to which the controller responded, “The lights were already at 100 percent.”
Preliminary ADS-B data shows that N880Z overflew the airport at 775 feet msl (407 feet agl) and entered a left downwind for Runway 27R. While on the downwind leg, the airplane descended to about 365 feet agl and then climbed to approximately 500 feet agl while on the base leg. The last recorded ADS-B target was 7:14 p.m. at an altitude of about 460 feet ft agl.
At 6:55 p.m. the airport weather was reported as wind variable at five knots, visibility three statute miles, mist, broken cloud layer at 2,000 feet, overcast cloud layer at 2,600 feet, temperature of 10 degrees C, dew point of 8 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches.